With his time at Boardman and stint at Columbiana, Moschella finished his head coaching career as a member of the 700-win club, posting a combined 713-186 (.793) overall ledger – including his time as boys head coach for the Clippers – in 899 total games coached.
Current McDonald girls’ basketball coach Tony Matisi, who earned his 500th career coaching victory back on November 23, said Moschella taught him to be passionate about everything that he does in life, including coaching.
“I met Mosch my first year as head coach of Ursuline High School in 1992,” Matisi stated. “He taught me that if you are going to do something, do it with passion and give it 100 percent. I had the pleasure of knowing him for over 30 years and underneath that tough exterior he was always so helpful when I would call and just want to talk basketball. He put Northeast Ohio on the girls’ basketball map and will be sadly missed.”
Allison [Dougherty] Brien also played for Moschella, graduating in 2006. She is currently an assistant on Hammerton’s staff, handling the lower grades and feeder system for the program.
“Coach Mosch had five very important values that he wanted us to implement if you were a part of his program,” O’Brien noted. “It was God, family, school, basketball, social life and in that order. He taught us how hard work can pay off. Most days, our practices were four hours long, which may have felt long in the moment but I would do anything to go back to those days with the greatest teammates of all.
“We weren’t projected to be a state qualifying team my junior year but you better believe we kept pushing and made a dream reality by making our way to the state ‘Final Four,’ his first appearance. We had the time of our lives and I will never forget it. He was more than a basketball coach, he was a family man who loved his children and grandchildren more than anything. I was fortunate enough to have played for him in high school and be able to coach alongside him for a couple of months this season.”
Former Spartan all-state wrestler and 1973 BHS graduate, Greg Cooper, who served as the athletic director at arch-rival Canfield High School until his retirement, always kept up with the local news during his time in the Navy.
“First and foremost, my sincerest, most heartfelt condolences and sympathy go out to the Moschella family for their loss, Cooper said.
“While I was in the Navy, I kept up with the hometown news by subscribing to The Boardman News and that was when I first heard about coach Moschella. I remember reading with pride about his Lady Spartans’ basketball teams and how good they always were. He was the architect of some of Boardman’s best and most successful squads. Even from afar, it was obvious that he was a fiery competitor who demanded the best from everyone associated with his program.
“I first came face to face with him when I returned home and became Canfield’s athletic director when we played basketball games between the two schools. He lived up to his advance billing and watching him on the sidelines was often as entertaining as the game itself. What really shone through everything was that he was a ferocious competitor and demanding coach on the court, truly caring for each and every one associated with his program.
“Off the court, he was always a friendly, even gregarious man. You could tell how proud he was of his family and his extended family of players. The local athletic scene is diminished with his passing and he will be sadly missed.”
Dana Balash, the dean of area sportscasters, appreciated Moschella’s passion for the game and for life.
“I covered Coach Moschella’s teams in my early days while serving as a stringer with The Vindicator in the mid-1980’s,” Balash added. “He was professional and always wanted to promote his players and program. When I started in the sports department at WFMJ-TV in 1991, he remembered those days from the ‘80s and always said I knew you back then.
“Ron was passionate on the court and at practice but always credited his players and staff. At times, he would have his assistant coaches do pre or post-game interviews. Even during the tough times, he always returned my calls or consent to an interview where he was never short on words. His on court antics was ‘him’ and no other coach would get away with what he did, but that was Ron Moschella. He simply is girls’ basketball in Boardman.”
Rob Luklan is an Atlantic Coast Conference football official who was selected to work this year’s Alamo Bowl between No. 12 Washington and No. 20 Texas.
He has also officiated local boys and girls’ basketball games for over three decades, noting Moschella expected the best from everyone at game time.
“Ron expected great things from his players and also from the officials,” Luklan stated. “I have had several conversations outside basketball with him and soon realized that he not only cared about the players he coached but boasted of their successes in everyday life.
“We would talk about the North Canton Hoover-Boardman girls’ games because there was no harder game than that one to officiate. It was fun listening to coach and his many conversations during a game. I am deeply saddened by his passing.”
Jean Armstrong is the longtime secretary in the BHS athletics department, spending the past 32 years working with the many colorful coaches and characters who have walked through their doors.
“Ron was a great coach, a person who cared about everyone and everything and was a lot of fun to work with,” she noted. “I will miss him.”
Former Spartans boys’ soccer coach, Eric Simione, has been courtside for many of Moschella’s games where he serves as the school’s public address announcer. “Announcing games that Mosch coached was always entertaining, yet a challenge,” Simione said. “There were plenty of times when I had to turn off the microphone so no one would hear me chuckle over something he said or did from the bench. He was a great motivator for his players but you could learn a lot from him as a coach, too, if you were inclined to pay attention. I realized his players would do anything he demanded in a game or practice because they knew how much he cared about them away from the game.
“Ron was simply a great guy with a heart of gold, a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, fantastic grandchildren and my thoughts are with all of them during this trying time.”
He gave the media multiple storylines and they appreciated his candor.
“You just had to love the guy, quite simply, because he was a news and sports person’s delight,” area freelance sportswriter and noted humorist John Butera added. “He was a delight to work with and his quotes were classic. His coaching style was really something to watch and there was never a dull moment when you covered one of his games.”
Son-in-law Brian Terlesky coached basketball for his father-in-law with both serving as golf coaches – Terlesky the boys and Moschella the girl’s – for the Spartans.
“Ron Moschella was the ultimate family man, loving his family more than anything,” Terlesky stated. “He had a passion for teaching and coaching because he genuinely loved people. His intensity for life and his willingness to push others to make the most of themselves was what made him a legend.
“Boardman students, especially the girls that played for him in basketball, were blessed with his love. Once he became part of your life, if you could handle it, he never let you go and you became a part of his extended family. His life will be known for his unique ability to see the best in people and the potential they possessed. He was the best father, grandfather, teacher, coach and husband.
”The love he had for his wife, daughters, and grandchildren was immeasurable. His generosity through his constant wishes to take care of people, feed them, make people laugh and have fun made him such a special person. There will never be a high school coach that was as successful as he was and this success is measured by the love that he has received from the many lives that he has influenced.
“A second father to so many as a teacher and coach, he was most proud of his 10 grandchildren, pushing each one of them with high expectations but most importantly, his love. He won over 700 games, went to three state championships with his golf teams and two state finals with his basketball teams. The loss of his eldest daughter and fellow coach, Christine, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2013, devastated him over the past two years. He missed her more than words could describe.
“He was so proud of people for their successes. There will never be another person quite like Mosch.
“He was emotional, gave the best hugs, wore his heart on his sleeve, wore the best cologne, made the best jokes and made you want to be the best version of yourself that you could be. He will be loved and missed greatly while the world lost a true father.”
This article has been republished with permission by the Boardman News.
Current Boardman Schools Superintendent Tim Saxton said Moschella’s teams were always well-prepared. “A Coach Moschella team always played hard and intense,” Saxton added. “The secret to his success was how much he cared for those that he coached. Girls played hard for him and he could push them hard in games and practices because at the end of the day, his players knew he truly cared about them. He will be missed.”
Dave Smercansky was another BHS athletic director who witnessed his drive and intensity, first as an assistant for three years then for 12 more years at the helm of the school’s athletic department.
“If you didn’t know Mosch, you would probably roll your eyes and raise your eyebrows,” Smercansky added. “If you were fortunate enough to know him, however, you would quickly realize that he loved his players and had a passion for coaching. He would cry with the girls on senior night because of the relationship he had with each of them, knowing he would soon lose them as players when the season ended. He cared about everything and everybody, even when opposing players were injured.”
Former players revered their coach. “He made us all a part of his family,” stated Tanja Simione, a Spartan three-year letterwinner who went on to earn four more letters while starring at nearby Youngstown State University. “His three daughters were at most practices and his oldest, Christine, could handle the ball as good, if not better, than most of us. His wife, Judy, took care of us with her warm smile, letting us know how proud she was of us. I thank you, coach, because you helped make me a better person. He instilled strength, confidence and leadership in his players and those are life lessons that stay with you forever.
“For that, I will be forever grateful. Knowing that you are now reunited with your daughter, Christine, brings us all some peace. I know when we meet again you will probably remind me of that over and back violation my senior year. He simply loved all of us.”
Dr. Ashlee [Russo] Rohan, who was a three-year letterwinner for Moschella from 1999-2002, is currently a noted pulmonary and critical care doctor locally.
“It is hard to summarize a 25-year relationship with Mosh,” she noted. “He would best be known as my high school basketball coach but was much more than that to me. He was a mentor during my most impressionable years, always encouraging to me to have dreams and to chase them. He didn’t believe in meeting potential, he believed in exceeding it. As he transcends to his new journey, I hope he feels how loved he is by so many. I would especially like to extend my prayers and condolences to the Moschella family and to all of those he impacted.”
After a year away from the game, Moschella was hired by former Spartans’ and YSU football standout, Dr. Don Mook, Columbiana Exempted Village superintendent, to guide the Clippers girls’ basketball team.
In six seasons at the helm – he also coached the boy’s team in 2014-15, going 14-10 – Moschella went 130-21 (.861) with five league titles and six sectional championships.
“How do you not enjoy a guy who brings an unmatched passion to whatever he does,” Mook said. “I had two daughters play for him and one of his former players, Courtney Schiffauer, served as his assistant for us. He was a heck of a coach but an even better person. He surrounded himself with quality people and Courtney is now a pre-K physical education teacher at our Joshua Dixon Elementary School.”
Schiffauer played for Moschella from 2004-08, was a McDonald’s H.S. All-American nominee, the OHBCA Division I ‘Player of the Year’ as a senior, scored 2,000 points during her career and went on to earn a scholarship to Michigan State University.
“Coach Moschella was not only my coach and mentor, but he was also my best friend,” Schiffauer added. “It wasn’t always about basketball for him because he truly wanted me to be the best human being I could be. No one saw behind the scenes when he pushed me in the classroom, got me tutors if I needed one, fed me dinners after practices, consoled and counseled me when college basketball was mentally draining or when he called just to say hello and check on me.
“Our relationship didn’t end after high school. He continued to care and love me until the moment he left us. He changed my life by pushing me to my limits, mentally and physically, and I would not have had the success I had, then or now as an adult if it were not for him. As a coach, he pushed for women’s basketball to be treated with respect. We weren’t just girls playing a game in his eyes, we were people who deserved the recognition and accolades that we earned. He would put his teams up against boys, not only to make us better but to show people we could do it.
“Coach Moschella is the definition of high school girls’ basketball. He will not only be remembered for that and his accomplishments but also for his ever giving heart, his laugh, his hugs, his cologne and the passion he had for his players. I’m just glad he will be reunited with his beloved daughter, Christine, who I know he loved so much. I will forever cherish my time with coach and may his legacy live on forever.”
Part 3 Coming Soon
This article has been republished with permission by the Boardman News.
If you were fortunate enough to see former Boardman and Columbiana high school girls’ basketball coach Ron Moschella in action, you saw a man without a filter, a coach who was passionate about the game and a person who cared to a fault about the players that he coached and students he taught in his classroom.
Moschella passed away Jan. 4 at the age of 72 and up until the time of his death was still coaching, serving as an assistant on current Boardman girl’s head coach Jeff Hammerton’s staff, happily imparting his knowledge of the game and the wisdom he accrued over the years to this new group of players, those selected to represent the maroon and white and the program that he put on the map beginning in 1980-81, his first season at the helm.
He was a coach and teacher who never compromised his principles and if there was ever anyone cutting edge, ‘Mosch’ was that person.
Hired in time for the 1980-81 season, he went 4-16 that first season and no one took a loss harder than the first-year coach. Thirty years later, his last at the BHS helm, he suffered through his second losing campaign, going 8-13.
In between, he guided his teams to 21 conference championships – he won 19 Steel Valley Conference titles and two Federal League crowns – 13 district championships, two regional crowns and two state Final Four appearances (2005 and 2008).
He demanded excellence from his players but no more so than the demand for excellence from him and his staff. During his tenure he authored 29 winning seasons, guiding his Spartan teams to a 569-155 (.786) overall mark.
Current Boardman girls’ basketball coach, Jeff Hammerton, called Moschella a mentor and friend. “I was so lucky to have had the opportunity to have Coach Moschella in my life for as long as I did,” Hammerton said. “He had such an impact on me from the time I was in high school and he was both a teacher and coach. When I chose Kent State University as my college, he was so happy and proud because that is where he went to school. While pursuing my degree in sports broadcasting, he would often check in because he wanted me to be on ESPN so bad.
“When I went back to school to become a teacher and coach, he was one of my mentors, both in education and coaching. He taught me so much about coaching and life that I could never repay him. As a coach, he was Boardman Spartans girls’ basketball. For over 30 years he poured his heart and soul into every girl who played for him and for all the successes on the court that his teams enjoyed, he was prouder of what each of his players later became in life.
“When I was hired back this year to coach the girl’s team, he was the first person I wanted on my staff because of what he means to the program. In the short amount of time that he worked with our team, he left a lasting impression on each of our girls. I could not have been luckier to coach, teach and be his friend and I am going to miss him so much.”
Former Boardman athletic director, Jim Fox, said the Ron Moschella you saw on the court was not the man others witnessed away from the gymnasium.
“Working with Mosch at Boardman was memorable, to say the least,” Fox added. “The image some may have after watching games in which he coached is not the same ‘24-7’ man that I worked with for over 20 years. He had a heart that cared immensely for the kids he coached. It is because he genuinely cared about his players that there is no doubt about the positive impact he had in the development and success of one of the truly great girls’ basketball programs in the state of Ohio.” Current Spartan athletic director, Marco Marinucci, said Moschella’s passing leaves a void that will be hard to fill.
“Coach Moschella holds a place in Boardman High School history that can never be filled,” Marinucci stated. “He has given his talents, skills, guidance, support and love to his players, students and colleagues throughout his whole tenure and he will truly be missed by our staff and students.”
Moschella took over the reins of the Spartans’ program from Denise Gorski, also a former athletic director and the longtime Boardman track and field coach while her husband, Dan, coached the Boardman boys’ hoopsters when Moschella coached the girls team.
“My association with Mosch goes back to my first and only year as head coach of the Spartans girls’ basketball team in 1980,” Denise noted. “Many people do not know that he was my assistant that year and I vividly remember having to pull him down on the bench at times by his suit jacket. We began a lifelong friendship and I knew that he had a tremendous desire to want to take the girls’ program to new heights, which he certainly did.
“I wanted to focus on coaching our indoor-outdoor track teams and we were both incredibly supportive of each other’s programs, always encouraging our girls to do both sports. We had many of the same athletes and I know many of them are just devastated right now. I also taught physical education with Mosch for many years and saw the interaction that he had with students as well, not just athletes. They loved him for his personality but also because he cared about what was going on in their lives.”
Dan Gorski said Moschella forged relationships with everyone with whom he came in contact.
“Mosch touched countless lives of the girls he coached,” he said. “He treated them like competitors on the floor and women off the floor. We can all appreciate his intensity at game time but it’s the relationships he forged with his athletes that was so impactful.”
Part 2 is coming next week.
This article has been republished with permission by the Boardman News.
BOARDMAN – In 2019, Boardman’s Rob Luklan, an Atlantic Coast football official since 2013, tore his Achilles tendon then in 2020, caught COVID and was sidelined for several games.
He admits to struggling to finish the season upon his return, despite clearance from his doctor.
In 2021, he regained his health, was in top form once again and while he had hoped for a post-season assignment after his COVID year – he did not receive one despite being strongly considered – worked a full schedule and was selected as part of the ACC officiating that worked the TransPerfect Music City Bowl between Purdue and Tennessee, won by the Boilermakers in overtime, 48-45.
In ’22, Luklan finished his 24th season on the Division I level – he just completed his 31st overall at the collegiate level – working 15 games which included 11 ACC contests, the Week Zero game between Florida A&M and North Carolina, an FCS contest and the Chick Fil-et kick-off between then No. 3 Georgia and No. 10 Oregon, a game won by this year’s No. 1 ranked FBS play-off entry Bulldogs, 49-3.
He had yet another memorable season as a back judge and for his efforts was rewarded with his 15th post-season assignment, being chosen to work this year’s Valero Alamo Bowl which pits No.20 Texas against No. 12 Washington on December 29.
The game will be televised to a national audience by ESPN beginning at 9 p.m. Luklan said travel was a challenge at times but was pleased with his performance this past season.
“I felt like I had a good year and while the first of anything that you do remains a special memory, your upcoming assignment is also your most important so you need to remain focused,” he said recently from his Boardman residence. “Travel always keeps you busy but more so this year because there weren’t as many flights going to the cities for the games of which we were assigned.
“I probably traveled in excess of 20,000 miles and actually drove to the Duke-Pitt game in Pittsburgh, also driving to games I had at the University of Connecticut and Rhode Island.
A 1981 graduate of Cardinal Mooney High, Luklan earned his BS in business degree from YSU in 1987 where he was a four-year letterwinner in baseball for the Penguins. A former sandlot standout in the area’s Class B and AA leagues, he is still considered one of the finest area sandlot baseball players in the glorious amateur baseball history of the Mahoning Valley.
Luklan began his officiating career at age 23, working area scholastic games as a member of the Youngstown Football Officials Association. Five years later at age 28, he was selected to become a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference officiating staff, working under the guidance and tutelage of Curbstone Coaches Hall of Fame honoree and OAC supervisor of officials, Dr. Larry Glass.
“I consider Dr. Glass my mentor,” Luklan added. “He had patience with me, always gave me guidance and direction and I cannot thank him enough for all that he has done for me. He took a big chance on me and for that I will always be grateful.”
After spending seven seasons in the OAC, Luklan moved over to the Mid-American Conference (2002-11) where he was selected to work four conference championship games.He earned his first bowl assignment while in the MAC, an assignment that he says he will never forget.
“It was the 2005 Poinsettia Bowl between Colorado State and Navy,” Luklan added. “The bowl was originally an armed forces football championship played from 1952-55 and it marked the first time that the game returned to the bowl line-up.
“Notre Dame’s famed Rudy Reuttiger was the guest speaker at our luncheon, which was held on a docked aircraft carrier. Everything was just so incredibly special to me because it was my first time working a bowl game.”
From the Mid-American Conference, he moved over to the Big Ten Conference for four seasons and during his 10 years in the ACC has worked two championship games as well as the Cactus Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Peach Bowl and famed Army-Navy game, which is considered a bowl assignment.
“The emotion you experience at an Army-Navy game is second to none,” he noted.
To date, Luklan has worked 282 games – the Alamo Bowl will be his 283 overall – and he is hoping that he can stay healthy so he can make it to that magical 300 games worked plateau on the Division I level. Including non-Division I games that he has officiated, his total is more than 350 games worked.He notes that the upcoming FBS championship games will be something to watch.
“Any of the four teams can become his year’s national champion, they are all that good,” Luklan stated. “After officiating that Georgia-Oregon game early in the season, there is a reason Georgia went from No. 3 to the No. 1 seed in the post-season. They are well-coached, well-disciplined and well-conditioned.”
A local high school basketball official who works both boys and girl’s games, Luklan also works girls’ softball games in and around the Mahoning Valley for the OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association).
He said ACC supervisor of football officials, Dennis Hennigan, is one of the very best conference supervisors.
“During my time in the ACC, Dennis Hennigan has been a great boss and a delight to work for,” Luklan said. “He is a director who is available all times of the day, answers your questions and makes sure things are alright your way.”
In addition to Glass and Hennigan, he credits former NFL official Dick Creed, fellow OAC officials Brian Meenachan and crew chief Ken Swanson, MAC and ACC replay official Jim Visingardi, Big Ten officials Tom Krispinsky and Julius Livas, former Big Ten and NFL supervisor of officials Bob Walker and area high school heads of officials, the late Fred Vicarel and Dutch Miller, Mike Butch and John Mang as those who have been instrumental in advancing his career.
“I am grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way and am especially appreciative of my fellow ACC officials,” noted. “I also get to coordinate officials for the University of Pittsburgh’s pre-season and in-season practices and have worked both Notre Dame and Cleveland Browns practices so it really has been a lot of fun for me.”
Luklan, who retired in 2018 after 31 years as a parole officer for the State of Ohio, will be joined for the game by his family, which includes wife, Sharon, and daughters Kalie and Nicole.
Filipovich is one of three basketball honorees – he joins Mike Banks and Tim Joyce – set to be enshrined in this year’s class, bringing to 74 the number of local hardwood greats to be enshrined.
Born December 18, 1953, he is a 1971 graduate of Brookfield High School where he earned four letters in golf and another in football for the Warriors.
Upon graduation, he attended Bluffton College (1971-75) where he earned four letters in both football and golf for the Beavers.
He helped BC to the 1974 and 1975 NAIA District 22 golf championship and for his efforts was inducted to the BC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001.
After earning his undergraduate degree in 1975 – he also did post-graduate work at YSU, graduating in 1983 – he began his teaching, coaching and administrative career with the Brookfield Schools, serving as the Warriors’ head golf and girls’ basketball coach, also serving as an assistant for both its football and boys basketball teams.
He was an assistant coach for the BHS boys’ basketball regional championship team, also serving as an assistant on its state championship football squad in 1978. He became the girl’s head basketball coach in 1981 and directed the program for the next 22 seasons, posting a 328-162 (.669 winning percentage) overall mark.
On January 28, 1999, he earned his 300th overall victory to join an elite list of area coaches who have accomplish that feat.
During his time as the BHS girls’ head mentor, he guided the Warriors to four (1991-93 and 1995) league championships, seven district (1983, 1990-92 and 1995-97) crowns, two regional titles (1990-91), five regional finals (1990-91), a state semi-final (1991) appearance and the state finals, that coming in 1990.
While roaming the sidelines, he was honored as the Warren Tribune-Chronicle Division III “Coach of the Year” in 1988, earning Ohio High School Basketball Association Division III girl’s “Coach of the Year” laurels in 1991. A seven-time Trumbull County Coaches Association “Coach of the Year” honoree (1990-93 and 1995-97), he was named Mahoning Valley Coaches Association “Coach of the Year” on seven occasions (1990-93 and 1995-97) as well.
He was selected to coach in the 1992 All-Ohio Division III and IV, North-South All-Star game, was honored with the YWCA “Outstanding Achievement Award” in Trumbull County for girls sports that same year and in 1994, earned IDS/American Express Division III “Coach of the Year” laurels.
For his efforts he was inducted into the Brookfield High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.
He has spent 45 years in education and currently serves as BHS Schools chief of accountability and assessment. He and his wife, Kari Rae, reside in Brookfield.
Individual tickets are $60 each, tables of eight $480 and further information can be obtained by calling 330-506-6774, or by visiting the organization’s website at www.thecurbstonecoaches.org.
This article is republished with permission of the Boardman News.